Rana Naved takes five as Sussex start well
Sussex 173 for 4 beat Essex 141 by 32 runs
Sussex opened their Friends Life t20 campaign with a convincing 32-run win over Essex at Hove. Murray Goodwin, the county's leading scorer in Twenty20 history, top-scored with 53 in a total of 173 for four and that proved enough when Rana Naved became the second Sussex player to take five wickets in a Twenty20 innings.
Scott Styris, with 47 off 29 balls, and James Foster had given Essex a sniff of victory with a sixth-wicket stand of 71 from 35 balls. But Naved, who had earlier bowled Mark Pettini, returned to take three wickets in the 18th over, deceiving Styris and Foster with slower balls before trapping Graham Napier leg before wicket.
Naved wrapped things up in the last over when he bowled Chris Wright for a duck to finish with career-best figures of 5 for 17 from 3.1 overs.
A strong Essex side would have fancied overhauling their target in good batting conditions but they were always struggling after reaching 59 for 4 at halfway and the asking rate had climbed to 11 runs an over.
Ravi Bopara opened the batting for Essex but was bowled by Wayne Parnell for two before Owais Shah was guilty of a terrible swipe to be bowled for 23 by Michael Yardy. Monty Panesar celebrated his competition debut for Sussex by opening the bowling and claiming two wickets, first seeing Ryan ten Doeschate held off a top-edged sweep before Matt Walker holed out.
With the asking rate blowing out of control Rana then ripped through the rest of the Essex order as they were bowled out for 141 in 19.1 overs.
Earlier, Goodwin had come to the crease in the third over after Luke Wright had been taken at short cover off a mistimed drive to give New Zealander Tim Southee his first wicket in Essex colours.
Goodwin and Chris Nash took control in a second-wicket stand of 71 in 43 balls with Nash hitting Wright out of the attack when he smashed 17 off the fourth over. But, as is often the case at Hove, spin checked the scoring rate. Tim Phillips had Nash leg before sweeping for 43 off 29 balls and the slow left-armer finished with 3 for 31.
Goodwin's 53 came off 39 deliveries and contained seven fours, although he did survive one difficult chance on 32 when Bopara reprieved him at short cover off ten Doeschate, one of seven Essex bowlers used.
Goodwin became Phillips' second victim in the 16th over after putting on 61 in 46 balls with Lou Vincent. The Sharks hoped Vincent (35) would guide them to a bigger total but he holed out to long-on in the 18th over as Sussex could only added 20 runs off the last 21 balls.